Mass. Legislature Rejects Vote on Gay Marriage Amendment
Massachusetts lawmakers voted Thursday to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the state.
The narrow vote was a victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow to efforts to reverse a historic 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
MORE: Via the Boston Globe:
A proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was defeated today by a joint session of the Legislature by a vote of 45 to 151, eliminating any chance of getting it on the ballot in November 2008. At least 50 votes were needed to advance the measure.
The vote came after House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray, and Governor Deval Patrick conferred this morning and concluded that they have the votes to kill the proposal.
The three leaders – along with gay rights activists – spent the last several days intensely lobbying a dozen or more state representatives and state senators who had previously supported the amendment but signaled that they were open to changing their positions.
Because fewer than 50 of the state’s 200 lawmakers supported the amendment, it will not appear on the 2008 ballot, giving gay marriage advocates a major victory in their battle with social conservatives to keep same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.
Opponents of gay marriage face an increasingly tough battle to win legislative approval of any future petitions to appear on a statewide ballot. The next election available to them is 2012.
I heard somewhere this morning that both Republicans and Democrats were reluctant to have a Gay Marriage Amendment proposal on the 2008 ballot. How courageous. I guess democracy and the popular vote are only popular if you think you’ll get the results you want.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the voters of Massachusetts should have been allowed to weigh in on the issue (and the poll numbers were close, if I recall). Now they’ll have to take whatever solace they can from voting against the legislators who denied them.